Lords committee to take evidence on impact of Northern Ireland protocol on medicine provision

Prescription-only medicines are supplied to Northern Ireland through the MHRA Authorised Route

A House of Lords committee will discuss the impact of the Northern Ireland protocol on medicine supplies in Northern Ireland.

An inquiry was initially promoted in Autumn 2021 amid fears that companies may decide to no longer to supply medicines to Northern Ireland and the committee wrote to the Government setting out its findings.

Today's meeting is the second of the year, after the committee held its first evidence session for this follow-up work on 18 January.

Currently the Northern Ireland medical supply is delivered through the MHRA Authorised Route (NIMAR).

This is a supply route has been designed to ensure that people in Northern Ireland can continue to access prescription-only medicines, should clinical need be unable to be met. This includes supply of medicines that are unlicensed in NI, but which are licensed and approved in Great Britain.

One of the key points of today's meeting is an investigation to whether the Northern Ireland MHRA Authorised Route (NIMAR) is working effectively or not.

More broadly, today's meeting is expected to look at the main issues the Protocol is causing to the pharmaceutical industry in terms of medicine supply to Northern Ireland and how the industry has adapted or changed its operating model as a result of the Protocol.

The committee will also discuss any changes to cross-border medical supplies as a result of the Protocol.

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